What To Expect At Your Next Dental Checkup

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Little girl getting her teeth treated by a dentist while her father looks on.

For many patients, dental checkups and cleanings can be a nerve-racking experience. But with the modern technology and tools that are now being used, dental visits can be a rewarding and beneficial time to evaluate your oral health. While most routine checkups include a cleaning and an exam, some might have additional procedures to address the specific dental needs that you have. These dental exams are essential in preventing oral cancer and diagnosing any conditions that you might be experiencing. To find out what to expect at your next dental checkup, read this guide for more information on how the cleaning process works and what you can do to prepare for it!


The Importance of Routine Checkups

Having regular dental checkups is one of the first steps in maintaining good oral health and is an important part of preventative health care. Even if you are not having any problems with your teeth or feel that your oral health regimen is good enough, regularly visiting your dentist will allow him/her to evaluate your general well being and detect any problems that may be developing. During these visits, dentists can provide important tips on properly caring for the teeth and mouth, along with providing a thorough cleaning and examination to keep your teeth on the right track.


Even the healthiest patients need dental checkups! Many times, there are areas of our teeth and gums that we cannot see/reach on our own, which can have underlying problems that will need further help to address. These issues can develop even if we take good care of our oral health, so it is important that every patient meets regularly with their dentist for preventative care. Checkups help your teeth stay cleaner, last longer and can prevent painful problems from developing early on. Many routine dental visits have helped patients in the long run as the dentist has been able to diagnose serious complications early on, such as oral cancer or periodontal disease. These are serious issues, and can be completely treatable if patients stay up-to-date on their dental checkups.


What To ExpectYoung female patient standing in x-ray machine for a panoramic x-ray

For both children and adults, dental checkups are very similar to each other and will involve a thorough cleaning, examination and X-rays. Cleanings are normally done by the dentist or hygienist to remove plaque and tartar by scraping below the gum line with special tools.  If left untreated, built-up plaque and tartar can cause cavities, gum disease and bad breath. During the cleaning, the hygienist most likely will polish and floss your teeth to give them the extra shine you want. Following the cleaning, your dentist will perform an oral examination of your teeth, gums and mouth, to identify any problem areas that may need additional work. Using a small mirror and a metal probe, he/she will check for gum swelling and redness while also measuring the depths of your gingival pockets. The dentist’s main goal is to identify and treat any significant problems early on so as to prevent any disease from developing, so they will typically check other areas of the body, such as the lymph glands, palate and soft tissues of the mouth, for signs of infection.


Depending on your age and needs, your dentist may recommend taking X-rays. X-rays are beneficial in diagnosing other issues that can go unnoticed, such as damage to jaw bones, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts, tumors and tooth decay. Your dentist may use a panoramic X-ray, which provides a full view of the upper and lower jaw in a single picture, which will help he/she view your bite and arch of the mouth. Some patients are concerned with receiving an X-ray because of the possible radiation that can be emitted during the process. Dental X-rays are very safe, and emit no more than what you would receive from a day in the sun. As a precaution, though, you should always wear a lead apron when having an X-ray, and if you are pregnant, let your dentist know since X-rays should only be taken in that instance for emergency purposes.


Follow Up Visits

After your dental exam and X-rays, your dentist will discuss with you the results and what preventative measures you can take to avoid dental issues, like gum disease or tooth decay. If your teeth and gums are in good shape, most dentists encourage follow-up visits between 3-6 months after your initial appointment. If further treatment is required to fill a cavity, repair a broken crown or remove a wisdom tooth, follow up appointments should be made before you leave the office.


For more information on what to expect at your next dental checkup, call Stonebrook Family Dental at (303) 872-7907! Our staff is dedicated to helping your family receive the best dental care and get the healthy smile you deserve!


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